Author Archive | Ludovic Leforestier

[GUEST POST] What I Learned from 5 Years at Gartner

Martin Kihn / ex. Gartner, now DentsuMonday — on what would have been my five-year anniversary at Gartner — I left to join Dentsu Aegis Network. It was a good span at a well-run company doing God’s (technical) work. It was simply time.

When I was a management consultant, I couldn’t describe what I did. Not to my parents, not to strangers. Not in a way that convinced them I had a real occupation, and maybe I didn’t.

Try describing what an “industry analyst” does: “Research, writing, 30-minute consulting engagements.”

“But you can’t solve any problem in 30 minutes.”

“Just watch me.”

“You don’t know anything about the company.”

“I know something.”

“But — but — but –”

The assumption most people make is that marketing problems are unique. Perfect knowledge of the context, the company, its tech stack is required to construct a solution. This assumption is false. Continue Reading →

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Around Amal Nichols from Cisco in 10 questions

Amal Nichols / Cisco on the IIAR websiteIIAR AR Professional of the YearWe have the privilege today to interview this year’s IIAR AR Professional 2018 and heading the  IIAR AR Team of the Year 2018, Amal Nichols (@nicholsamal, LinkedIn),Director, Global Analyst Relations at Cisco. She must be doing something right!

  1. What’s been your career path to becoming an AR pro?

Like many in our field, I started out in Public Relations.During college, I worked at a few San Francisco Bay Area-based television stations and later joined a public relations agency focused on the high tech industry. At the time, there were no dedicated AR functions. PR roles actually included managing relationships with both press and analysts. I also spent a year in Paris working on pan-European PR programs with sister agencies in the UK and Germany. From there I worked on the corporate side at a small networking company. I then decided to start my own PR consulting firm. That’s when the industry was growing exponentially and there were lots of startups looking for help and many mature companies in need of extra support. It gave me a great deal of flexibility, a nice mix of clients and a wide breadth of experience. Cisco hired me as a consultant and after two years, offered me a full time position. That was 12 years ago! Cisco was one of the first companies I knew of that had a dedicated AR function. It was exciting to see the strategic value that AR brought to a business and the respect the function had within Cisco. Continue Reading →

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No penalty shoot out required: the IIAR Analyst Relations Professional of the Year 2018

In the midst of the nation being gripped by World Cup fever, the IIAR Summer Party happened to fall on a historic semi-final appearance by England. But that iconic World Cup Trophy was, of course, very far from being the most important accolade contested tonight.

That’s right – tonight was also the announcement of the IIAR’s much-coveted Analyst Relations Professional of the Year 2018.

The IIAR’s recognition of the capabilities of the analyst relations community is an important moment in our industry – not just because we can celebrate the great work of our friends and peers – but also because it’s an opportunity to gain feedback from analyst themselves. And indeed responses from analysts at over 60 firms are at the core of this methodology and the ensuring awards. They rated over 400 professionals, 85 agencies, 9 megavendors,  and gave the IIAR a comprehensive set of insights on best practices. 

Thanks to the analysts

We asked the analysts to be thorough in their critique. And as AR pros, having committed hours to the completion of numerous research responses, who wouldn’t want the chance to pose some questions back in the other direction?! Fortunately the analyst community were very generous with their time and the depth of feedback. Our profuse thanks to everyone who participated and took time from the barrage of vendor briefings and research obligations to commit to the process.The feedback we sought related directly to the IIAR’s model of the 3Rs of Analyst Relations. Put simply, these are the defining three key traits required for the job. While we’re sure everyone reading this is entirely fluent in the 3Rs, they can be summarised as follows:

  • Responsiveness – analysts expect AR pros to revert back to them in a timely fashion with the information required for their research
  • Relationships – analysts have many stakeholders; they rely on someone that’s easy to deal with always goes that extra mile
  • Results – can AR pros deliver results for their employers?

Full time scores

And so the moment of truth. The referee’s final whistle has gone, there’s no time for video replays and the crowd is on the pitch. Here’s the final score… Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] How not to be an analyst? By Jon Collins

Today’s guest post is a long(wish) read by Jon Collins from GigaOm (LinkedIn, @jonno) following our IIAR Webinar on “How not to be an industry analyst?

If you enjoy this, why not check his “How not to write an autobiography?

 

Jon Collins: How not to be an industry analyst (IIAR website)Introduction – a glass of wine…

For a start, a bit of background. I never meant to be an industry analyst, not as such: indeed, having done my time as a programmer, then IT manager and various forms of consultant, I hadn’t a clue what one was. Back in 1998, I was responsible for training and other informational services at a mid-sized consulting firm when a report from a company called “Butler Group” came across my desk. That was my first connection with the world of analysts.

A year or so later, I was looking for something new (a cyclic habit in my career); I was also drinking a rather fine glass or two of red, when I stumbled across an advert from Bloor Research. With my inhibitive defences down, I banged off an email straight away.  I barely had time to regret it, as the following Monday I went for an interview… and the rest is an 18-year career.

These were exciting times. At the turn of the millennium the dot-com was still bubbling up: we launched a couple of web sites and face to face forums at the time (IT-Director and IT-Analysis) and set to making the most of the complexity and uncertainty, charging for clarity and simplicity. I remain proud of my 2001 report about the inevitable move towards universal service provision. We call it the cloud these days.

I paraphrase history, but by and large, analyst firms emerged in the mid-1990’s, as attention moved from bespoke ‘turnkey’ solutions and towards custom-built software. From there, they made sure to cover the space like any good ecosystem. So, has anything changed, over the past two decades?

I have worked for a variety of smaller firms and I have done a short stint at a bigger one —IDC. I’ve spent an awful lot of time hanging out with analysts, AR professionals and the firms they represent. I’ve also spent some time not being analyst, working behind the scenes to help some of the largest vendors tell their stories. And this, to an extent, is mine.

I don’t know if you are familiar with the C.S.Lewis classic, The Screwtape Letters — written from an old devil to a little demon? In a similar vein, I thought I’d capture some of the things I might tell my younger self. As they say, getting it wrong is the best form of experience, and it is good to share.

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Le CXP Group moves to consulting – CEO Yannick Carriou interviewed

CXP Group logo (IIAR website)Le CXP is one of the oldest IT analysis firms around. It was created in 1973, six years before Gartner, under the auspices of the French Ministry of Industry by some of the largest French companies at the time: Air France, Anotec, Bred, BSN (now Danone), EDF, RATP and the Société Générale. Its remit was to provide expertise on packaged software -hence the name in French, the deliciously quaint Centre d’Expertise des Progiciels. It’s been doing just this plus some consulting for IT users, gently and in French (Americans would call this in “local language”) until it bought PAC, a rival but vendor-focussed French firm, in 2014. At last I should say, and after PAC’s founder, Pierre Audoin, passed away.

Before this, Le CXP bought German BI specialist BARC in 2011 and PAC snapped German firm Berlecon on the same year. As a result, we’ve got a Paris based firm doing more business in Germany than France. They must like it there.

Are you still following me?

On May 15th, its new CEO, Yannick Carriou (ex. Ipsos and TNS) announced Le CXP was buying Ardour, a business consulting firm. Here’s his exclusive interview. Continue Reading →

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IIAR Webinar with Jon Collins: how not to be an industry analyst?

Jon Collins / Inter Orbis and GigaOM (IIAR website)Jon Collins from GigaOm (LinkedIn, @jonno) first picked up the analyst mantle in 1999, when he sent off a rather too hasty job application after a glass of wine. Since then he worked for, and with, a variety of larger and smaller firms — including picking up IIAR’s European Analyst of the Year award in 2012, a moment he sees as the pinnacle of his analyst career. Really.
More recently, alongside his analysis duties Jon has been working behind the scenes, helping a variety of vendors and other firms tell their stories, as well as helping the IIAR put together its best practice guide on “What’s an Analyst Anyway?

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Why is Analyst Relations commanding a 46% salary premium over Public Relations?

IIAR/CB Resourcing Salary SurveyDrawing on the  2017 IIAR Salary Survey produced by CB Resourcing,  we thought it would be interesting to expand the information gathered with a comparison against the wider sector of public relations.  

 

The size of the gap between AR and PR is staggering

When we compare Analyst Relations to more general Public Relations roles for Director level/Rank 1 Analyst Relations get paid significantly more, an average of 46% above Public Relations roles in the UK.  In the majority of cases Senior Manager/Rank 2 Analyst Relations are also paid more however, the salary gap between them and Public Relations roles is not as large and in the Technology sector average basic salaries are the same. Continue Reading →

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[GUEST POST] Why Startups Need Analyst Relations More Than Growth Hacking

By Theo Pristley (@tprstly, LinkedIn), originally posted here on Forbes and republished with his express permission. Co-authored with Ian Gotts (@iangottsLinkedIn), tech advisor, investor, speaker and author.)

 

Industry and IT analyst firms collage (IIAR blog)

Analysts Or PR ?

You’re an innovative and growing startup, I get that. You’ve got a fab new product or service that’s going drive dramatic benefits for enterprise customers, I get that. You’ve even got a blog to push out great customer stories now and then, I get that too.

But how do you accelerate growth without piling on expensive sales guys? Or employing ninja growth hackers? And how do you make it easier for the large corporates to find you and get comfortable placing big orders with you?

ANSWER: You create relationships with the analyst community. And here’s why.



Analysts are important



Analysts have the ear of people with the purse strings. When they speak, the C-Suite listens. When a company goes out to tender for a third party product invariably an analyst will be involved in the decision making process, whether directly as a result of a consultation or indirectly through a research paper. They are able to influence not only potential customers, but they also coach and advise your potential acquirer on their product strategy including which vendors to buy.

Being included in an analyst research note is worth more than 100 blog posts, column inches in the FT/ WSJ or exhibiting at the next xyz conference. You need the analysts, whether you like it or not, to survive in both the short-term and thrive in the long term because their word carries weight. If a customer refers to an analyst for a product shortlist and you’ve never engaged with the analyst you can guarantee you’ll never make that list no matter how mind-blowingly awesome your product is.

Analyst Relations (AR) can deliver far greater short term and long term tangible benefits than any PR campaigns. Yet many startups start engaging PR before they even consider AR.

It’s never too early



It takes time to build a relationship with the right analysts that cover your product’s area. Let’s not confuse a relationship with meeting the analyst once or twice and fire-hosing them with your product pitch. You are aiming for a relationship of mutual respect, and that takes time to develop which is why engaging as early as possible is critical for survival for a startup. Done well it can position a vendor ahead of the short list in product selections and gain the attention of the leaders of industry, the media, and the competition. Poor (or no) analyst relations can result in your product being ignored by potential clients and it may limit your penetration in your existing clients

Being spotted by an analyst early on is major kudos for a small company but also for the analyst because they love to be the one who discovered a cool new vendors and write about them. And it’s also their opportunity to help you out and form part of your success. Analysts are no different from anyone else, they love being part of the action and have an ego to fuel. And again, it can’t be stressed enough, if they don’t know you neither will their clients when they ask about the market.

IIAR Blog: Box leader in the Magic Quadrant re-tweeted by Aaron Levie

Even the cool customer Levie knows the value of an analyst

But they are expensive and we don’t have the time!



Certainly, there are costs with engaging with analysts. Most charge an annual fee to be a client and have access to the analysts and research. But don’t think that you can buy your way to the top of a Magic Quadrant or Wave, or into the minds of the analysts. Or that paying for one or two consulting engagements with the analysts will do it. Think relationship, not prostitution.

Often it is the amount of money that vendors perceive they have to spend which stops them building a relationship with the analysts. The issue is most vendors spend too much money in the wrong places. It doesn’t have to be that way.

And apart from the hefty fees they ask you to sign up for there’s also the potential overhead of someone in an Analyst Relations role. Traditionally this is a new, fairly junior hire or it is outsourced to a PR/AR agency. Both of these lead to the wrong relationship being developed with the analysts, but it is a very common mistake.

Analysts need to be briefed on product functionality, but they are far more interested in customer stories. However, meeting or calls with analysts, understanding their needs and providing the information they need in the format that they want can be time consuming. They often feel like they are more difficult to deal with than clients. But they can afford to be as their influence and value is so much greater than even your best client.

What is required is a carefully crafted strategy and deep understanding of what drives analysts and how they operate. It also needs someone who has the ability and gravitas to engage them as peers and forge that professional relationship your company and product deserves. It’s not about booking appointments or groveling for time. It is the role of a senior exec or founder who inevitably has other priorities – company operation, client sales or product strategy.

So how do I make this work?

Few senior executives have engaged with analysts or developed an effective analyst strategy. And with conflicting priorities, they do not have the time or luxury to learn. But companies readily hire a Non-Exec Director to add an external perspective, exercising their ancient Rolodex and to sit on a board. Their brief is often financial or governance and theyoffer pithy advice like “if you sell more and spend less”.

A more cost effective approach is to hire a Non-Exec Director or Advisor who understands Analyst Relations and can help shape the analyst strategy, coach the senior team on the best way to engage with analysts, and act as a sounding board for decisions. They will add more value to the business as your go to market plans are meaningless without the visibility in the market that strong analyst relationships will bring.

For the price of a junior in a PR or AR firm, or hiring an intern growth hacker, you can bag a NED or Advisor who knows how to tango with the analysts.

And that’s when you can hook bigger fish.

 

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Around Margaret Adam from IDC in 10 Questions

Margaret Adam / IDC for the IIAR around in 10 questions

This week, we’re delighted to present you some insights from the just promoted Margaret Adam / IDC (madam_idc, LinkedIn, blog) with our world famous ten questions.

 

  1. What are your coverage areas?
    Officially, European Channels and Alliances, more broadly this really looks at all kinds of go-to-market and partnering relationships from traditional channel (distie, VAR, SI, MSP, ISV, etc) to new routes to market (marketplaces and cloud service brokerages) to non-traditional partners (start-ups, strategy consulting, industry cloud, digital agencies etc). Essentially, I look at routes to market and advise our customers on the optimum route to market in Europe both in the short term and longer term. Continue Reading →
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[GUEST POST] What is your product and what does it do? by Adrian Sanabria / Threatcare

Adrian Sanabria / Threatcare, guest post author on the IIAR websiteThis post by Adrian Sanabria / Threatcare (@sawaba, LinkedIn) was first published here on his blog.

 

Lessons I learned trying to make the most of vendor briefings

I’ve always been a sort of ‘cut-to-the-chase’ kind of guy. I’m self-taught when it comes to security and technology. Over the years, I’ve learned how to skim through a book, article or website to extract the important information. Sometimes I’m just trying to figure out how to do something, or I’m looking for an answer to a specific question.

Just tell me what time it is, I don’t need to know how atomic time clock frequency standards work.

Conversely, I also have an appreciation for context and a good story — as long as you eventually get to the point.

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Friday tip: make conference calls invite great again

Robot phone IIAR websiteA little tip after being on one too many calls which was needlessly hard to join today.

You’ve all been there: you’re on a mobile phone (because you’re busy wrapping the previous call on your laptop) but the number is buried in the invite body. Then it is a US number, like 0808 800 0082, that doesn’t work for anyone not based in the country. And then you need to memorise a 9 digit passcode. Nine digits, what were they thinking about?

The good news is that there’s a fix. Continue Reading →

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How much are you worth? Introducing the IIAR Salary Survey

IIAR/CB Resourcing Salary Survey

As a highly specialised profession, Analyst relations roles are notoriously hard to evaluate when it comes to compensation. They are often hard to find profiles, can report to different functions and thus bother recruiters and employers are often at pains to make the right call on salaries. In addition, expertise areas and their drivers are not often well understood -for instance whether analysts relation professionals manage research budgets, are the lead on one or several research firms, have a global remit, etc.

Sounds familiar? Continue Reading →

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Around Penny Jones / 451 in 10 Questions

Today we ask our probing questions of Penny Jones (LinkedIn@PennyJones451)  Principal Analyst, MTDC & Managed Services at 451 Research.

Penny Jones, 451 Research (IIAR website)

  1. What are your coverage areas?

    I cover the European multi-tenant datacenter (colocation – wholesale and retail) markets and hosting and managed services. I focus mostly on the business proposition of providers and geographic and other trends affecting these industries. Continue Reading →

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 Around Renata Barros from Cisco in 10 questions

Logo IIAR AR Professional of the YearThe third winner of the IIAR Analyst Relations Professional of the Year 2017, for Latin America, Renata Barros / Cisco (@RenataBarros, LinkedIn) gives us some insights on how she rose to the challenge and sees influence in her region. Sorry, theatre.

1. What’s been your career path to becoming an AR pro?

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Around Tracy Shouldice / Trend Micro in 10 questions

IIAR AR Professional of the YearTracy Shouldice / Trend Micro (blog, @TracyShouldice, LinkedIn) is the IIAR AR Professional of the Year 2017 – North America and kindly accepted to share a bit about him and what led to this award. Continue Reading →

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IIAR Webinar with ARInsights: How to Manage an AR Event

Events create a lot of stress for AR teams, often stretching them to a creaking point. They account for an large proportion of the overall AR budget, their organisation consumes the team and put great demands on executive time.  Nothing can go wrong, and no detail can be overlooked.  AR teams are tasked with creating personalided analyst and executive agendas that can have no conflicts, while making sure that analysts and executives are left with no idle time.
In this webinar, Crystal Golightly (LinkedIn, @crysgolightly) / ARInsights will share best practices how to take the stress out of organising analyst events gathered by working with clients such as Oracle, Cognizant, Infor and many others.

This session will be moderated by Ludovic Leforestier (LinkedIn, @lludovic), IIAR Board Member and Global Influencer Director at Criteo. Continue Reading →

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IIAR Webinar: Gartner Research Methodologies including the Magic Quadrant

Join David Black (LinkedIn), Gartner‘s Managing Vice President for Methodologies and Customer Engagement for an interactive conversation on the industry’s most famous and talked about research methodology -the Gartner Magic Quadrant.

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IIAR webinar: IDC exclusive update

Tom Meyer / GVP IDC EMEA (LinkedIn@tomtxt) and Dan Timberlake /UK MD IDC (LinkedIn)  will be giving IIAR members an exclusive overview of IDC on the 18th May 2017 both in person and by webinar with a deeper dive into some of the interesting areas such as

  • Major themes in the industry and how IDC is responding
  • Faster development of new areas
  • Actionability of IDC product on vendor / buyer side
  • Buyer tools
  • Interactions w/ customers and how they are changing
  • Customer engagement / experience
  • What IDC is supporting customers with

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IIAR London Forum: Best Practice followed by NelsonHall: Getting the Message Out in a Post-Truth World

As 2017 is shaping up to be a Tectonic Year when it comes to Analyst Relations the IIAR will be holding a London Forum on April 27th and on the evergreen topic of AR Best Practice, IIAR members are invited to share and debate best practice relating to Analyst Relations, Ludovic Leforestier (LinkedIn@lludovic), will moderate the session. This will be followed by a NelsonHall Session on Getting the Message Out in a Post-Truth World, presented by  Rachael Stormonth (LinkedIn, @rstormonth), Guy Saunders (LinkedIn, @GuySaunders1), Paul Connolly (LinkedIn, @Paul_NH), John Willmott (LinkedIn, @John_NH) Continue Reading →

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BREAKING: Gartner gobbles brand benchmarking agency

2017 is definitely a a tectonic year for influencer relations: after expanding to other functions with the CEB purchase, Gartner Gartner purchases L2Inc. (NYSE:IT) announced it bought L2, a brand benchmarking agency cum research company.

This further reinforces its capabilities in marketing and digital, a segment coveted by rival Forrester (NASDAQ:FORR).

As IT expenditure moves to business lines and to the marketing fiction of customer experience, this is a path also trodden by consultancies: the big four (Deloitte, EY, PwC, KPMG), IT players such as IBM and Accenture and the TWICH (Tech Mahindra, Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, HCL) as well as regional players such as BearingPoint have all been buying digital agencies. This potentially brings Gartner’s mainstream RAS (Research Advisory Services) in competition with those service companies as well as specialists such as Sapient Nitro (Gartner consulting sometimes already competes with some of those players. Continue Reading →

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